Rainwater Tanks in Bushfire Areas

Here in South Australia, bushfires can be a real threat during our long heatwaves. Residents living in particularly prone areas, such as the Adelaide Hills or in regional areas are well aware that Installing a Reliable Rainwater Tank in Adelaide can be lifesaving. However, there are particular considerations to put into effect in the event of an actual bushfire. 

Rain Water Tank Adelaide

Firstly, tanks can be a very handy source of water to help fight the fire for those who choose to stay. This is of course providing that your tank is fitted with a pressurised pump to ensure water flow to a hose. Electric pumps which take water from dams or bores will risk being cut off and cannot be relied upon.

If you do intend to fight as part of your bushfire plan, then authorities advise a 3.7kw portable diesel or petrol motor coupled with a 38mm centrifugal fire pump. Residents can only attempt to fight with a tank if it is made of Aquaplate or galvanised steel. Poly tanks or fibreglass materials are simply not equipped to deal with the extreme pressures. Not only will they damage, but that are considered combustible, making it extremely dangerous for anyone nearby. 

If the situation is not that dire, then authorities suggest installing a system which will easily and instantly disconnect your roof with the collection system. This is to prevent the ash and toxic debris from entering the water supply which you may have been carefully gathering for months. If you do not intend to fight the fire, or have alternate water supplies, then it is recommended that the disconnection be made at the first hint of threat. 

Rainwater Tanks Adelaide

It is not just the ash that can contaminate your supply. Fire suppressant water dropped from planes can also be harmful.  Any burning of the pipes or tank itself is immediate cause for concern, and water should not be consumed or used indoors. The first priority is to have the water tested to ensure that you can begin cleaning the roof and reattaching the pipes. If it is not fit for drinking, then either use the water elsewhere, or drain it fully and have it professionally cleaned so that potable water can begin to be collected.

Now it is time to thoroughly check and clean the roof, providing no structural damage has occurred. All the ash and debris needs to be removed, and pipes and gutters cleaned. Unfortunately, finding dead animals on the roof is also a high possibility. Once a decent manual job is done, residents should complete a first flush. A first flush diverter is an absolute necessity in bushfire areas. This device was intended to rinse off the roof when the first rains fell, to prevent any build up over summer from interfering with the water. Once that first rinse is done, the water collects as normal. 

It cannot be stressed enough the importance of a great mesh filter, both over gutters and at the tank entrance. A good mesh will remain smooth so that leaves and debris slide over the edge while only letting in water. Mesh which is too coarse will trap leaves. Dry leaves and debris on the roof is large quantities is a huge bushfire hazard. Occasional cleaning may be necessary, but overall a good quality mesh product should do the job.   The sooner a tank is installed and set up responsibly, the sooner families can feel at ease about their bushfire safety. Please contact Taylor Made Tanks to arrange a Professional Rainwater Tank Consultation in Adelaide with our talented team.

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